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The Chosen Few by Zvi Eckstein, Maristella Botticini

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CHAPTER 8

Segregation or Choice?

FROM MERCHANTS TO MONEYLENDERS, 1000–1500

Money lent on interest is profitable, because the pledge remains in the hand of the creditor, and the principal increases without effort or expense.

—Rabbi Joseph b. Samuel Tov Elem Bonfils, c. 1040

Today [Jewish] people usually lend money on interest to Gentiles . . . because we have to pay taxes to the king and princes and everything serves to sustain ourselves.

—Rabbenu Tam, c. 1160

His occupation is to lend against interest, and this is the main occupation of Jews that live in these [German] lands.

—Rabbi Joseph Colon, c. 1450

CIRCA 1000, THE MAIN OCCUPATIONS OF THE LARGE JEWISH COMMUnity in the Iberian Peninsula and the comparatively smaller Jewish communities in ...

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